Has the Robot Apocalypse Arrived?

March 26, 2021
The Steel City has quietly become a robotic powerhouse.

Okay, maybe robots are not taking over the world—yet. But, the continued use case development and innovation efforts are gaining steam in Pittsburgh.

Once known for its steel production, Pittsburgh is now the second-largest robotic ecosystem in the world and has a concentration of over 100 companies focusing on the advancement of robotics and artificial intelligence. There has been a 300% growth in employment in the region’s robotics sector since 2011. From feeding the world to driver-less driving and explorations on the moon, the robotics industry in Pittsburgh is solving the hard problems our modern world is currently experiencing.

"We actually look at ourselves as the robotics capital of the world and by many measurements, we are one of the top three robotics communities. Typically it's Boston, the Bay Area, and Pittsburgh," says Joel Reed, executive director at the Pittsburgh Robotics Network. "A lot of that has to do with the top academic institutions of MIT, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon. We have such a breadth of leading minds in a wide range of technical areas with companies across a broad range of market segments solving really big problems."

Reed says that Pittsburgh's growing robotics dominance goes beyond the innovations being advanced to market. "Our ecosystem is multi-faceted and incredibly interconnected—from the leading-edge R&D happening at institutions like CMU to exploring the gamut of policy and regulatory matters that ensure responsible development. As we move more autonomy into our communities and daily lives, responsible development cannot be an afterthought.  We’ve got to lead with it, and Pittsburgh’s ecosystem is set up to support such a commitment.”

"Pittsburgh has been a traditional industrial community that maybe missed out on the digital revolution, but we led some of the earlier industrial revolutions," adds Reed. "However, today we are completely surrounded by autonomous and intelligent machines - from the time that you land at the airport, passing through our communities or shopping in a retail store." 

Click on the slideshow to learn more about the robotic advances coming out of Pittsburgh. 

About the Author

Peter Fretty | Managing Editor

As a highly experienced journalist, Peter Fretty regularly covers advances in manufacturing, information technology, and software. He has written thousands of feature articles, cover stories, and white papers for an assortment of trade journals, business publications, and consumer magazines.